• Published 17th Nov 2014
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Crystal's Wishes - Crystal Wishes

Crystal Wishes thought she was content just writing about ponies falling in love. While her career takes off, her love life is somewhat... lacking. Can she be happy living vicariously through her stories or will she find her own happily ever after?

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"And you told them no?" Velvet stared at her incredulously. "Why the hay would you do that?! This is a once-in-a-lifetime event!"

Crystal groaned and rested her foreleg over her muzzle, clenching her eyes shut. "Because I didn't want to owe them. Maybe I can find another way in?"

Velvet sighed. She returned to her morning routine, her hindlegs stretched in a perfect split. "What about Princess Luna? Couldn't you ask her for an invitation?"

"What? No!" Crystal's ears pinned back. "She might think that I'm only friends with her for personal gain. I'd much rather owe my mother than do that."

"Then just go back and ask them." Velvet tucked one hindleg in and kept the other straight. She leaned forward and reached for her extended hoof.

Crystal stood up and started to pace while mumbling to herself before she finally said, "No, no. If I know my parents, they'll likely try again. They don't give up so easily." She plopped back down onto a pillow. "I just have to wait."

And wait she did, but neither of her parents came by. Every pony at school and at her favorite cafe were talking about the upcoming wedding, and the whole of Canterlot was so excited that it was nearly impossible to avoid the subject. To capitalize on the surging interest, every store was stocking up on matrimonial merchandise, making it even harder to ignore.

The first sign of the impending marriage-pocalypse happened at the grocery store, where Crystal saw two cantaloupes dressed in wedded bliss. One wore a little tiara and a veil while its companion had a top hat and bow tie. She tried to buy the bridealoupe, but the accessories were removed before it was put in the bag, and Velvet didn't believe her when she tried to explain why she bought it in the first place.

In the window of a small gift store were several plushies in the distinct likenesses of Lady Cadence and Captain Shining Armor. Crystal stopped in her tracks to press up against the glass, looking at the plush toys in disbelief. They were made well enough, but what caught her eye most was that their forehooves were sewn together, forever joined—at least, so long as the stitching didn't come loose.

Crystal almost bought one, but when she stepped into the store, she was scared away by the wave of giggles that followed when a mare exclaimed, "Look! Their horns light up!"

Another week went by and Velvet came home with her latest espousal discovery. She set down the bag she carried in her mouth and exclaimed, "Crystal, you won't believe what I found!"

Crystal looked up from her magazine. "Hmm?"

Velvet reached into the bag and lifted a wrapped object. She removed the paper and, with a big grin, held up the find: a white, gold-rimmed china plate with Lady Cadence's face painted on it. "It gets better!" she squealed as she set down the plate to retrieve a second one that similarly sported the face of Captain Shining Armor.

Crystal squinted at her. "Why—You—How much did those cost?"

Velvet rolled her eyes. "How can you ask that? I mean, the obvious question you should be asking is which one do you want?"

"I don't know?" Crystal's voice cracked as she fought a smile.

Velvet looked down at the painted eyes gazing back up at her. "I can't wait to eat off their faces. Their beautiful, regal faces. Whoever thought this was a good idea did not think this through.

"You finish off your mashed potatoes and bam!" Velvet flipped the plate toward Crystal again for effect. "Stop right there, hungry scum! You forgot your peas!"

Crystal shook her head, finally allowing herself to laugh, and looked back down at the magazine. She idly flipped to the next page. "This is getting ridiculous. I am just as excited for the wedding as everypony else, but really? Plates?"

"Do you think this craze will last until Nightmare Night?" Velvet asked, flopping over onto her back to gaze up at Shining Armor's visage in a playfully longing way. "I'd hate to be accosted by royalty."

"Are you even listening to me?" Crystal rolled her eyes.

"Hey! We should eat in tonight and use these!" Velvet tilted her head back to look up at Crystal at an odd angle. "We can have an elegant dinner party with royalty!"

Crystal returned the look with a playfully sour frown. "If you say royalty one more time, I'm getting my thesaurus and read it to you."

Velvet stuck out her tongue to blow a raspberry. "You're just bitter because you don't get to go."

"That's not confirmed yet! I just… have to…"

Velvet hummed to herself before she noticed the trailing silence and looked up at Crystal again. "Huh?" Noticing Crystal's wide-eyed expression, she rolled over to lay right-side up. "What's up?"

"I almost literally cannot even begin to comprehend this," Crystal said flatly, tapping on the magazine laid before her, then read aloud in a haughty voice, "'Precreating the Royal Wedding: What Might Be'."

Velvet blinked slowly. "What?"

Crystal's eyes scanned the six-page article. There were several pictures of wedding gowns that Cadence was photo manipulated into, examples of extravagant cake designs they might have, flower filly dress options, bouquet choices…

Velvet rested her chin on Crystal's shoulder to read with her before she snorted. "Okay, you're right. This is kind of getting ridiculous."

Without another word, Crystal stood up and walked over to the door. She tried on a few hats before settling on one, a floppy, wide-brimmed white hat with a blue ribbon.

"Where are you going?" Velvet asked, still reading over the article. "They have potential gift favors!"

"I'm going to talk to my mother." Crystal's tail flicked with agitation. "And I'm going to get into that wedding!"

Velvet flipped to the next page. "Good luck! And if you see any more plates, we need them!"

Crystal snorted and rolled her eyes before leaving the condo. She walked at a casual pace, humming to herself. The streets were busy with ponies hawking wedding wares.

Normally, Canterlot had better taste and kept itself above such blatant commercialism and fanaticism, but the impending marriage seemed to have everypony crazed. Crystal sighed. She, too, had to admit that all the buzz was getting her in a rather romantic mood. What if she even had the opportunity to catch the bouquet?

However, more than the nuptial accosting in the streets was what loomed above. Just the day prior, a magical barrier had been erected around the entire city, supposedly as part of the increased security to prepare for the impending prestigious event.

The number of guards posted on the walls and patrolling the roads had nearly tripled. A glance up at the shining forcefield sent a small shiver down her spine, so she did her best to keep her attention on the task before her.

When she arrived at her parents' home, Crystal brushed a hoof over her mane and coat to ensure everything was in place before she knocked on the door. She then quietly counted under her breath. Her mother would answer the door no less than five seconds after an unexpected knock. One must never seem too eager and give another the power, after all.

On six, the door opened. Upper Crust smiled when her gaze fixated on her daughter. "Well, hello, darling. What brings you by?"

There was no tiphoofing around the subject. Her mother would see through any flattering deception in an instant. Crystal straightened up and kept a firm stance. "I was hoping to discuss the matter of the upcoming wedding."

Crystal's stomach tied up in knots when Upper Crust smirked. "Oh?" She raised her brow. "I thought you weren't interested, darling."

Crystal begged her ears to not fold back. Stand at attention, soldiers, she chided them. "I was concerned that my schedule wouldn't allow for it, but—"

"I'm so terribly sorry," Upper Crust interrupted, pawing at the air, "but we just assumed that when you said no, that meant no. We no longer have the option of inviting you. The gardener is so looking forward to it now, and we'd hate to disappoint him."

One ear disobeyed orders and flicked in visible irritation. "What? I—" She cleared her throat. "I see. You're upset with me."

"Me? Upset with you?" Upper Crust put a hoof to her chest. "Why ever would I be upset? Neither of us has the time for nor the interest in one another these days. You're not the only one who is busy, darling. Time doesn't merely stop when you leave and we wait with bated breath for your return." She chuckled softly, shaking her head.

Crystal nearly hissed. Instead, she stuck her nose in the air and started to turn. "I'm sorry for wasting your time. Good day, Mother."

Upper Crust started to close the door. "Good day, darling."

Crystal's gait slowly quickened until she broke into a full-on gallop toward the spa. Her throat was tight and sore as she choked down her desire to scream in frustration.

She was angry at her mother, but she was angrier at herself for getting so worked up over a mere event. Now she had given her mother exactly what she had wanted: power. Just the thought of Upper Crust back there doing a little victory head bob made her hooves move faster.

She nearly skidded across the smooth tile when she burst through the doors of the Platinum Salon & Spa, exclaiming, "Full package!"

A familiar sage pegasus stood behind the counter. He raised one brow. "Do you have an appointment?"

She gaped at him. Her mouth flapped open and closed a few times before she threw her hooves in the air. "I don't have the strength to be perturbed by you, you… you!"

"Uh-huh." He looked down at a clipboard. "I don't see any of those words on the list, so. You'll have to take a seat and wait."

"No, I—"

One of the spa ponies leaned in through a door. "Oh, Miss Crystal! Don't mind him, he's just a temp. Come on back."

Crystal shot the pegasus a withering glare. "I'll deal with you some other time."

The pegasus simply nodded. "You have a pleasant day, too, ma'am."

Crystal tried to leave her stress in the waiting area when she stepped into the spa proper. Gentle music floated through the air and the smell of lavender enveloped her. Twin mares approached her, one carrying a robe and the other a glass of cucumber water.

Golden Fish had a honey-colored coat and a creamy mane and tail while her sister Conch Shell was the opposite. Other than their colors and cutie marks, they were identical from their sapphire blue eyes to the gentle smiles on their faces.

"Hello," Golden Fish said in her silky smooth voice as she draped the robe over Crystal's shoulders. "Welcome to relaxation."

"Let us help you let go of your problems," Conch Shell continued and offered the glass. "Did we hear correctly that you wish for the full package today?"

Crystal paused to drink the cool, crisp water. The cucumber twist tickled her taste buds and she replied with a contented sigh, "Yes. The full package, ladies."

Fish and Shell smiled at one another, then said together, "Right this way, ma'am."

Crystal leaned back into the chair while the twins massaged her legs, a warm cloth draped over her eyes. The music floating in the air had shifted to a harp and its chords fell on her like a gentle rain.

"Both of you are from Canterlot?" she asked.

"Born and raised," one said.

Crystal groaned in the back of her throat. "And what of your parents?"

"The same," the other replied.

Crystal's magic lifted the corner of the cloth so that she could peer at the mare to her left, who turned out to be Golden Fish.

"I am having a bit of a struggle with mine," Crystal muttered.

Fish giggled softly. "Is that why you are so tense? Your parents?"

"Tsk, what other problem could a pretty, successful young mare have?" Shell chided her sister. "It must be the parents."

Fish merely shrugged.

The cloth lowered back to Crystal's face as she closed her eyes again. "They offered to get me an invitation to—to an event. I wanted to go, but I've also not been keen on owing them any favors since I moved out. But I also really wanted to go to the event, and they were my only way in."

Fish gasped. "You didn't say yes, did you?" She pouted when Shell glared at her. "I mean, please, roll onto your stomach."

Crystal obeyed and deft hooves started to work the knots out of her shoulders and lower back. She sighed and shook her head just slightly. "At first, I said no, but I went back and—"

"Oh, no, no." Fish shook her head, clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth.

Crystal inclined her head to peer at Fish out of the corner of one eye. "I don't understand. How do you know it went poorly?"

Fish looked at Shell to silently ask permission. When her sister nodded, she looked back at Crystal and said, "Because that is how parents are, at least in Canterlot. Once you grow out of their mold, they cannot handle it, so that is how some cope. They lash out."

Shell added quietly, "They will get over it eventually, or at least, most do. It takes time." She smiled and her voice raised from a near whisper to a gentle murmur. "Why don't we listen to the music for a while? Your shoulders tell me this is hardly a relaxing conversation."

Crystal nodded and rested her face against the pillow, allowing her eyes to close though her mind still wandered on the topic of her mother.

It didn't take long for the soothing harp and skillful hooves to put her at ease, her stress slowly coaxed and massaged away.

The day of the wedding had finally arrived, and every day prior was only a warm-up for the insanity that came with the celebration. Ponies from all over crowded the streets just to say that they were in the same city as the happily wed couple to-be. It also made getting anywhere extremely difficult.

"Excuse me, excuse me." Crystal sighed, uncertain why she even bothered with the pleasantries. Nopony could hear her over the excited chattering that echoed from every angle.

She finally made her way to the Phial and Filly, which, she discovered once she was inside, was rather empty. A sigh of relief escaped her at how the interior was the same as it always was. There was no Eau de Cadence, no Bridal Braid Care, nor any other thematic merchandise. There was just good old fashioned mare care products like normal.

"Hey, Crystal!" Runic smiled from behind the counter, then frowned. "What are you doing here?"

"I need the ultimate relaxation concoction," she answered as she perused the section of bath oils.

"No, I meant—" He gestured at the wall that separated them from a view of the castle. "I would have expected you to be at the wedding." He blinked when she responded with a loud groan. "Uh, that is to say—"

"It's fine," she interrupted, shaking her head. "That's just the reason why I need to relax. I really wanted to go to the wedding but, well." She rolled her eyes. "Here I am!"

Runic pushed a rock around the counter with his hooves like a schoolcolt drawing in the dirt. "Well, I'm glad you're here. It's been kinda quiet lately."

Crystal stared at him. She looked out the windows from where the faint noise of squeals and shouting came. She then looked back at him with one brow raised.

He returned the look with a grin. "But since you're here anyway, do you want to see something that rocks?"

Her lips wiggled as she tried not to grin herself. "Is it a rock?"

"Nope!" He picked up a basket and set it on the counter. "It's a bunch of rocks!"

She finally giggled and trotted over, levitating a few to examine them. "And what's the story behind these?"

He blinked. "Huh? The story?"

"Oh." She turned the rocks she magically held around before setting them down. "Anyway, they're very neat rocks."

"Aren't they?" He lit back up. "These are some of my new favorites. My old favorites are in the back, where I'll put these, but I'm just not done looking at them yet." He sighed wistfully and wrapped his forelegs around the basket. "All of my most recent successes!"

She smiled, returning to the aisles to peruse his alchemical wares. "What are you going to do with the old rocks?" she asked as she tried to decide between two bottles in particular.

"Do with them? I'll keep them where they are in the rock vault, of course! Well, I might move a few around to put some of these in their spots, but I don't think you're interested in rock organization." His ears perked upright with a sudden spark of hope. "Or are you?"

Crystal cleared her throat and raised up the two bottles. "I'll be happy to listen after you explain to me the difference between luscious rose and silky rose shampoo."

Runic put on his most serious face, which still wasn't very serious on him. "How would I know? I just ask the thesaurus." The coltish smile returned. "So, you see, I like to organize my rocks first by their sizes with the big ones in the back so the little ones don't get blocked. That way, when I look into the vault I can see them all. Next…"

Crystal kept one ear facing toward him, making a note of his organizational preferences in case it ever came up later, or if he had a pop quiz to go with the explanation. It all seemed fairly straightforward until he started to delve into a lecture on the differences between arkose and greywacke sandstones.

That was when both his words and her concentration were interrupted by the two most unsettling sounds to ever grace their ears.

First, there were screams of terror that ran Crystal's blood cold. It wasn't uncommon for Canterlot ponies to overreact to something simple and scream at it, such as an array of mismatching hats or a spilled latte, but the pitch of the ones coming from outside were not in the dramatic range.

They were much further toward the terrified end of the scale.

Then came the buzzing. It hummed through the air and bore its way into her skull: a dull, throbbing annoyance. It grew louder, presumably closer, and as it did, the screams grew more hysterical. The sound gave the impression that a swarm of locusts were invading the city; however, Crystal had a very sinking feeling the source was no mere insect.

All at once, her breath caught in her throat and her eyes went wide. She knew then what was happening: whatever that ominous barrier had been keeping out had finally gotten in.

Crystal slowly turned, dreading what she might see, to look out into the streets through the windows. Ponies ran in all directions and black, terrifying figures zipped through the air after them. Her heart pounded and she backed up into the display behind her.

Her head jerked back to look over at Runic, who was no longer standing behind the counter. He was suddenly standing beside her, his eyes narrowed while he stared at the chaos outside.

Without looking at her, he asked a simple yet enigmatic question: "Do you trust me?"

Author's Note:

Companion Memoirs Chapter: A Canterlot Wedding - Part 1

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